Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back in the groove!

Back-to-school and getting back into the groove...and it - is - exhausting! :)

Luckily, Casey's catering schedule has been light lately and my teaching schedule is much lighter than last year. We have been able to eat, spend time with the kids, and get a little housework done each night.

We had a great trip to Spartanburg last weekend! We saw a little bit of all the families, went swimming, fed the ducks, and more. I'm sad we won't be able to make it up much this semester with football games (Casey caters), church nursery every other week, and church orchestra rehearsals and concerts. I can't wait for our annual apple picking trip on October 15th! We have to schedule it 1 month or more in advance now that our families are growing so much!

I had a random thought the other day - it has been over 1 year since our car accident! Yay! I'm loving our newer van, too. I guess every cloud CAN have a silver lining!

For some html reason, half of my blog page has moved to the bottom of the screen. I haven't had enough time to stress over fixing it so just scroll down to search or see our sweet family picture :)

Strings sign-ups are crazy high at Conder this year! I usually have to BEG 5th graders to sign up, but I already have 21 signed up this year and I collect forms for 1 more week! I hope that means this will be a GREAT year!

I've been doing better with praying for others lately. Casey and I are reading 2 daily devotions together and really enjoying it. I'm also reading a small one on my own (the one that keeps saying exactly what I need on some days that I share here from time-to-time).

A lot of random updates today! Maybe more interesting tidbits next time!

Stac y{ <>< }

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

All about Christopher

Christopher - my sweet, sweet baby. I just love him to pieces.

He jibber jabbers constantly! People at school and church comment on it all the time. Apparently another parent always asks him "Christopher, what's the word" when he picks up his son and Christopher pauses for a second and then goes off talking as if he can understand him. It is downright cute. Sometimes he even adds a little bit of hand motions (Italian side?) and you can pretend like you know exactly what he is saying. Adorable!

He loves his lovey. This is not something I am familiar with since Michael never had one. Christopher will suck his thumb and cuddle up to one as soon as it touches his hand (he has several he likes). Perhaps that is why he also loves pillows and satin textures. The only way to slow him down for a cuddle time is to hand him a lovey :)

He is now officially walking! He still chooses to crawl a lot, but he is 100% willing to take a few steps on his own now. Before he would constantly just sit down like he was too scared. I called him "Chicken Pie". Don't ask me why!

He is like a little hamster or chipmunk! For some reason, when he gets full, he continues to stuff food in his mouth and fill his cheeks. Reminds me of Mark and Lacy's hamster that built a nest in our closet by hoarding dog food from the kitchen (without the 4 of us who lived in the house ever noticing). Christopher will be sitting in the bathtub and all of a sudden I see food in the water. HOW!? Christopher still has a mouthful for a bedtime snack I guess! AT least he is doing better with table food!

His hair is SO long. You wouldn't really know it by looking at it, but those curls are LONG. When we wash his hair, it staightens out all the way down his neck and onto his back. Who knows how long Casey will let this go on. Michael had his 1st haircut at 19 months and Christopher is only 14 months. Apparently my brother had curls too until they were cut and never came back. That's why I don't want to cut them!

He is so cute in shoes! and hats! I just love cute shoes and hats! :)

He loves to look at books. He gets them out of the book basket a lot. Of course, his favorites have noisy buttons on them. Sometimes, he will sit still with us when we read to Michael.

He likes to be near people. He doesn't really like to be in a room alone. Whatever room you are in, he likes to play in it too!

He sings a little bit - especially his favorite Veggie Tales song - "Baa, Baa, Baa...I'm a little sheep...". You can't make out words, but you can tell he is singing a tune.

He has SO many teeth! 12 are all the way in and the last 4 (canines) are on their way in as well. Michael only had 4 teeth at this age! We are shocked at his little mouthful of teeth!

He is the happiest, sweetest boy. I am so glad God blessed us with him!

Stacy { <>< }

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Reflecting God in our Work

* This is taken from my newest devotional God's Word for Mothers. It seems 100% suitable that I would read this the day before students return to school! I pray my character this year represents God in a positive light.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3:23

Children are a reflection of their parents. When a mom and dad send their offspring out into the world, they can only hope that the reflection will be a positive one.
As believers, we are God's children. No one is perfect, and for this there is grace. However, we may be the only reflection of our heavenly Father that some will ever see. Our attitude and actions on the job speak volumes to those around us. Although it may be tempting to do just enough to get by, we put forth our best effort when we remember we represent God to the world. A Christian's character on the job should be a positive reflection of the Lord.
This is true of our work at home as well. No one would disagree that daily chores are often monotonous, but we are called to face them with a cheerful spirit. God will give us the ability to do so when we ask Him.

Father, help me today to represent You well through my work. I want to reflect Your love in all I do. Amen

Emily Biggers
From Whispers of Wisdom for Busy Women

Stacy { <>< }

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Many Hats

Have you ever heard the phrase referring to "wearing a lot of hats"? Well, I have been reflecting on some of the "hats" I wear in my life and how I can better show God's love through each one.

~ Christian ~
Sister / Relative
Teacher (which has many hats of its own)
Violinist / Performer

Sometimes, I wear 1 hat while other times I wear 3 or more. Yet God uses me in each and every area. There is never a moment in life in which God is not using me for His glory. Everyday is planned by Him in a way that others can be touched and changed because of my presence.

I pray I won't interfere with God's perfect plan to use me to reach others.

I pray I can be more like Him everyday.

I love God ( ~ Christian ~)
I love my husband (Wife)
I love my children (Mother)
I love my parents (Daughter)
I love my family (Sister / Relative)
I love my friends (Friend)
I love my students (Teacher)
I love my Co-workers (Co-worker)
I love my fellow performers (Violinist / Performer)

Stay { <>< }


School is in! Back at work! Hectic schedules! Crazy days! Strict routine!

In short, I may not be blogging much for a little while :) I need all of my "spare" time for housework and family time :)

STacy { <>< }

Friday, August 5, 2011

Afternoon date!

Christopher and I had an afternoon date! Casey had to work an 18 hr day and Michael is out of town, so it was just the two of us today. We ran a few errands and stopped in at Baskin Robbins to use my free ice cream birthday coupon. He was adorable sitting on a 'regular' chair. He ate the cone in between little bites of my ice cream... and believe me, he LOVED the ice cream. I have really enjoyed having some time with Christopher all to myself. :)

The picture above is from our photo shoot between surgeries. I think he is in a bed of lucky clovers :)

Of course, I can't post about our date without addressing what happened AFTER the ice cream - torrential downpour!!!!! We went into CVS to fill a prescription and I decided we would take our good sweet time while the rain came down. I ended up scanning some diapers that I thought would be on clearance since I bought them on clearance for $2.99 at another CVS. Turns out they were $1.49! Nobody had bought them up because they weren't labeled 'clearance'. I have to thank for that price checker trick. I also got a really cool toothbrush for Michael at 75% off and a few other things + milk that added up to using a $5 off $25 coupon. 7 packs of diapers, one package of pampers wipes, 2 electric toothbrushes, 1 set of foam curlers on sale $5 off (yes, you read that right - I'm gonna try them out in the comfort of my home), and a gallon of milk for $20. NOT BAD!

Stacy {<><}

A new year!

Well, today is my last day home with Christopher. Monday begins the new school year! While some people dread this day and others approach it with great excitement, I find myself somewhere in the middle. I enjoy my summers, but they can't last forever! We'll get settled into a new routine soon enough.

Here are a couple of reasons I am excited about this school year:
1) I have a new schedule! For those of you who know me well, you have heard the woes of the terribly crazy schedule I have had at Conder. In order to better serve our students, I will have a new schedule of my own this year! I am nervous and excited all at once. I know that it will benefit the students so I am going to "make it happen"!
2) I already have all of my HET black/green stuff from last year so I can actually spend my supply check on USEFUL strings items this year! WooHoo! Last year we got some training and had to completely redo our classrooms around this time. Thank goodness that can still be used this year!
3) I get to see some of my dearest friends EVERYDAY.
4) The Conder Strings program is getting better every year. I am so excited about our new business connections and am hopeful that every student will have a "real" shoulder rest and music stand as a part of their package this year! Excited and nervous about using a new book this year too!
5) I love what I do. I make a difference in someone's life everyday. God called me to be a teacher and I am happy to fulfill that calling.

I can't wait to see what God has in store for my family this year. I know we will have tons of fun and do lots of great things together!

Stacy {<><}

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I hate money

Sometimes finances can really get you down in the dumps. I am fortunate enough to have a husband who 1) has the same viewpoints as me towards budgeting and finances (pay cash, no credit cards, etc) 2) chooses not to argue over money and 3) wholeheartedly supports couponing and money-saving efforts.

We got married young, finished school, and immediately started a family - so we KNOW what a tight budget is. Of course, we got comfortable once I started teaching and had to cut back again when we had two mortgages and a second baby (+ childcare).

I WILL say this - God has always provided for us! We have never gone with our needs unmet.

I just wish we could see the future before making financial desicions. For example, everything was great in 2010 - we bought the truck from Phil and put new windows in our home (yikes - expensive - but much needed). Then in July, a car accident that totaled our van. Okay - we can come back from that. Then, February, medical bills + medical bills + medical bills. Plus 3 broken car window motors in 1 year and $1,000+ put into our vehicles. And that's just the really BIG stuff. Plus, I gave up my violin studio when Christopher was sick which puts more of the part-time work on Casey and HIS second job.

So as you can see, paying bills and looking at our bank account has really gotten me down in the dumps today. We'll be cutting back a lot this school year until our savings are built back up. It's unfortunate that money is such a neccesity in life. It certainly is NOT a neccesity for HAPPINESS!

Tithe first and God will always meet your needs!

Stacy { <>< }

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Giving Back

In the children's hospital, Monday became known as the day that the "Happy Wheels" cart would come by to brighten Christopher's (well, really MY) day. It was one of the small things that helped us "get through" another day. It was more than just a toy.

I remember Christopher got the book, "Ten Little Babies" one week and a "Cat in the Hat" book too. He loved for me to read to him in the hospital. Another week, he got a set of Weebles. I didn't even know what they were! On one of our last days, he got a nice set of wooden blocks which he plays with almost everyday now.

To give back, we collected toys for Michael and Christopher to donate to Happy Wheels. I picked up clearance toys here and there until we had a whole bin full (including more Weebles)!

Michael did surprisingly well. He even put a Thomas and Henry train toy in the bag without any fuss! He wanted to give the toys to the "sick babies". I was so proud of him. Don't let the picture below fool you! He was super excited and also enjoyed seeing the fish tank at the hospital again.

This time, it was nice to "just be visiting."

* If you ever feel led to donate a toy or offer an incentive through a company to help raise money or collect toys for the sick children at the Palmetto Health Children's Hospital, just let me know and I will help make it a success!

A toy is more than just a toy
when Happy Wheels can share it.

Stacy { <>< }